Washington D.C. Bureau

‘We have to be ready’: Biden’s administration devoting $1B to storm preparation

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With another abnormally severe hurricane season expected this year, President Joe Biden’s administration will send $1 billion to states, cities and tribes to help them prepare before disaster strikes.

Biden visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency Monday to be briefed on the upcoming storm and wildfire season and talk about preparedness.

“We have to be ready, we have to be ready, when disaster strikes,” he said. “We’re going to spare no expense, no effort to keep Americans safe… It’s not about red states and blue states; it’s about having people’s backs in the toughest moments that they face.”

According to FEMA, last year’s storms killed 86 people and caused nearly $40 billion in damage. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a 60% chance of another above-normal hurricane season, with up to 20 named storms and between three and five major hurricanes.

“Today’s briefing is a critical reminder (that) we don’t have a moment to lose in preparing for 2021,” Biden said.

With recent staffing shortages and after a year of battling the pandemic, some worry if FEMA is ready to handle the upcoming season.

“We certainly hope they are,” Rep. Troy Carter, D-La., said. “Particularly in places like Louisiana that has suffered a great deal with the flooding and hurricanes … we’re going to be on that 1-yard line making sure that they’re ready to answer the bill.”

Meteorologists look to June 1 as the start of hurricane season.

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